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Become A Staff Geologist

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Working As A Staff Geologist

  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Processing Information
  • $85,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Staff Geologist Do

Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth, such as its composition, structure, and processes, to learn about its past, present, and future.

Duties

Geoscientists typically do the following:

  • Plan and carry out field studies, in which they visit locations to collect samples and conduct surveys
  • Analyze aerial photographs, well logs (detailed records of geologic formations found during drilling), rock samples, and other data sources to locate deposits of natural resources and estimate their size
  • Conduct laboratory tests on samples collected in the field
  • Make geologic maps and charts
  • Prepare written scientific reports
  • Present their findings to clients, colleagues, and other interested parties
  • Review reports and research done by other scientists

Geoscientists use a wide variety of tools, both simple and complex. During a typical day in the field, they may use a hammer and chisel to collect rock samples and then use ground-penetrating radar equipment to search for oil or minerals. In laboratories, they may use x rays and electron microscopes to determine the chemical and physical composition of rock samples. They may also use remote sensing equipment to collect data, as well as geographic information systems (GIS) and modeling software to analyze the data collected.

Geoscientists often supervise the work of technicians and coordinate work with other scientists, both in the field and in the lab.

Many geoscientists are involved in the search for and development of natural resources, such as petroleum. Others work in environmental protection and preservation, and are involved in projects to clean up and reclaim land. Some specialize in a particular aspect of the Earth, such as its oceans.

The following are examples of types of geoscientists:

Engineering geologists apply geologic principles to civil and environmental engineering. They offer advice on major construction projects and help with other projects, such as environmental cleanup and reducing natural hazards.

Geologists study the materials, processes, and history of the Earth. They investigate how rocks were formed and what has happened to them since their formation. There are subgroups of geologists as well, such as stratigraphers, who study stratified rock, and mineralogists, who study the structure and composition of minerals.

Geochemists use physical and organic chemistry to study the composition of elements found in ground water, such as water from wells or aquifers, and of earth materials, such as rocks and sediment.

Geophysicists use the principles of physics to learn about the Earth’s surface and interior. They also study the properties of Earth’s magnetic, electric, and gravitational fields.

Oceanographers study the motion and circulation of ocean waters; the physical and chemical properties of the oceans; and how these properties affect coastal areas, climate, and weather.

Paleontologists study fossils found in geological formations in order to trace the evolution of plant and animal life and the geologic history of the Earth.

Petroleum geologists explore the Earth for oil and gas deposits. They analyze geological information to identify sites that should be explored. They collect rock and sediment samples from sites through drilling and other methods and test the samples for the presence of oil and gas. They also estimate the size of oil and gas deposits and work to develop sites to extract oil and gas.

Seismologists study earthquakes and related phenomena, such as tsunamis. They use seismographs and other instruments to collect data on these events.

For a more extensive list of geoscientist specialties, visit the American Geosciences Institute.

People with a geoscience background may become postsecondary teachers.

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How To Become A Staff Geologist

Geoscientists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree for most entry-level positions. In several states, geoscientists may need a license to offer their services to the public.

Education

Geoscientists need at least a bachelor’s degree for most entry-level positions. However, some workers begin their careers as geoscientists with a master’s degree. A Ph.D. is necessary for most basic research and college teaching positions.

A degree in geoscience is preferred by employers, although a degree in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, engineering, or computer science usually is accepted if it includes coursework in geology.

Most geoscience programs include geology courses in mineralogy, petrology, and structural geology, which are important for all geoscientists. In addition to classes in geology, most programs require students to take courses in other physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, and computer science. Some programs include training on specific software packages that will be useful to those seeking a career as a geoscientist.

Computer knowledge is essential for geoscientists. Students who have experience with computer modeling, data analysis, and digital mapping will be the most prepared to enter the job market.

Many employers seek applicants who have gained field and laboratory experience while pursuing a degree. Summer field camp programs offer students the opportunity to work closely with professors and apply their classroom knowledge in the field. Students can gain valuable experience in data collection and geologic mapping.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Geoscientists write reports and research papers. They must be able to present their findings clearly to clients or professionals who do not have a background in geoscience.

Critical-thinking skills. Geoscientists base their findings on sound observation and careful evaluation of data.

Interpersonal skills. Most geoscientists work as part of a team with engineers, technicians, and other scientists.

Outdoor skills. Geoscientists may spend significant amounts of time outdoors. Familiarity with camping skills, general comfort being outside for long periods, and specific skills such as boat handling or even being able to pilot an aircraft could prove useful for geoscientists.

Physical stamina. Geoscientists may need to hike to remote locations while carrying testing and sampling equipment when they conduct fieldwork.

Problem-solving skills. Geoscientists work on complex projects filled with challenges. Evaluating statistical data and other forms of information in order to make judgments and inform the actions of other workers requires a special ability to perceive and address problems.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require geoscientists to obtain a license to practice. Requirements vary by state but typically include minimum education and experience requirements and a passing score on an exam.

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Staff Geologist Career Paths

Staff Geologist
Geologist Project Manager
Contract Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Geologist Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Manager, Project Management
9 Yearsyrs
Geologist Project Manager Partner
Managing Member
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Geologist Senior Project Manager Operations Director
Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Geologist Senior Project Manager Project Director
Manager, Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Geologist Principal Superintendent
Operations Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Consultant Operations Manager Safety Manager
HSE Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Supervisor Superintendent
Project And Field Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Environmental Scientist Environmental Engineer
Environmental Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Scientist Environmental Engineer Environmental Specialist
Senior Environmental Scientist
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Scientist Operations Manager Operations Project Manager
Senior Operations Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Hydrogeologist Project Geologist
Senior Hydrogeologist
10 Yearsyrs
Project Geologist Owner General Superintendent
Field Operation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Geologist Environmental Consultant Environmental Manager
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Specialist GIS Analyst
GIS Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Environmental Specialist GIS Analyst GIS Consultant
GIS Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Attorney Landman
Land Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Senior Consultant Senior Database Administrator
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Staff Geologist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Staff Geologist?

Average Yearly Salary
$85,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$55,000
Min 10%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$130,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Broken Hill Proprietary
Highest Paying City
Minneapolis, MN
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Staff Geologist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Staff Geologist in the United States is $85,199 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $55,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $130,000.

Real Staff Geologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Staff Geologist Murphy Exploration and Production Company Houston, TX Aug 28, 2015 $228,800
Staff Geologist Broken Hill Proprietary (USA), Inc. Houston, TX Oct 17, 2014 $227,729
Staff Geologist Broken Hill Proprietary (USA) Inc. Houston, TX Sep 21, 2015 $220,403
Staff Geologist Broken Hill Proprietary (USA), Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2014 $211,926
Staff Geologist-Basin Modeler Broken Hill Proprietary (USA), Inc. Houston, TX Oct 17, 2011 $195,000
Staff Geologist Shell Exploration and Production Company Houston, TX Nov 01, 2010 $192,600
Senior Staff Geologist Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Denver, CO Oct 30, 2015 $182,750
Staff Geologist Broken Hill Proprietary (USA), Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2011 $163,758 -
$195,000
Staff Geologist Conocophillips Company Houston, TX Aug 19, 2016 $149,120 -
$223,680
Staff Geologist Conocophillips Company Houston, TX Sep 02, 2015 $149,120 -
$223,680
Staff Geologist, Gloobal New Ventures Conocophillips Company Houston, TX Oct 01, 2012 $147,280 -
$220,920
Senior Staff Geologist Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Denver, CO Aug 25, 2015 $143,340 -
$196,000
Senior Staff Geologist Core Laboratories LP Houston, TX Oct 01, 2010 $136,500
Staff Geologist Conocophillips Company Houston, TX May 17, 2010 $132,662 -
$181,200
Senior Staff Geologist Core Laboratories LP Houston, TX Mar 15, 2010 $130,000
Geologist Staff Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation Bakersfield, CA Sep 07, 2014 $125,000
Staff Geologist Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation Bakersfield, CA Oct 01, 2013 $123,200
Staff Geologist Occidental Petroleum Corporation Houston, TX Sep 14, 2015 $122,500
Staff Geologist Occidental Petroleum Corp Houston, TX May 14, 2015 $122,500
Staff Geologist Occidental Petroleum Corporation Houston, TX Jun 10, 2015 $122,500
Staff Geologist Core Laboratories LP Houston, TX Sep 24, 2012 $120,856
Staff Geologist Occidental Petroleum Corporation Bakersfield, CA Oct 01, 2014 $113,600 -
$147,500
Staff Geologist Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation Bakersfield, CA Sep 08, 2012 $112,500
Staff Geologist Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation Houston, TX Dec 15, 2012 $112,000
Staff Geologist Shell Oil Company Houston, TX Jul 16, 2010 $106,000
Staff Geologist Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation Bakersfield, CA Jun 10, 2011 $105,000
Staff Geologist Conocophillips Company Houston, TX Feb 28, 2010 $104,187 -
$150,000
Geologist Staff Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation Bakersfield, CA Jan 26, 2011 $103,000
Staff Geologist Core Laboratories LP Houston, TX Sep 11, 2013 $102,990 -
$154,484

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Top Skills for A Staff Geologist

  1. Groundwater Samples
  2. Geological Reports
  3. Geotechnical Investigations
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Collected soil and groundwater samples from monitoring wells for analysis of chemical composition.
  • Build daily reports of tasks completed and collection of all pertinent data, and presentweekly geological reports to BP Staff.
  • Conducted a series of geotechnical investigations to evaluated construction suitability of structures including highway structures, man bridges and buildings.
  • Worked in subsurface investigations and remediation projects for petroleum and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Conduct UST removals and collect soil samples using an OVA and MicroFID meters as an indicator for contamination.

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Top 10 Best States for Staff Geologists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Alaska
  3. Louisiana
  4. Texas
  5. Colorado
  6. Montana
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Hawaii
  9. New Jersey
  10. Washington
  • (20 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (77 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (139 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)

Staff Geologist Demographics

Gender

Male

70.4%

Female

23.1%

Unknown

6.5%
Ethnicity

White

63.0%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Black or African American

10.4%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.9%

French

10.2%

Russian

8.2%

German

6.1%

Italian

6.1%

Swedish

2.0%

Indonesian

2.0%

Finnish

2.0%

Turkish

2.0%

Romanian

2.0%

Japanese

2.0%

Greek

2.0%

Dakota

2.0%

Cheyenne

2.0%

Polish

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%
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Staff Geologist Education

Schools

University of Texas at Austin

8.1%

San Diego State University

7.1%

University of South Florida

6.1%

Georgia State University

6.1%

Western Washington University

6.1%

Colorado School of Mines

5.6%

Texas A&M University

5.6%

University of Alabama

5.1%

University of Houston

5.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.6%

West Virginia University

4.6%

Northern Arizona University

4.1%

Wright State University

4.1%

University of California - Santa Barbara

4.1%

Sonoma State University

4.1%

State University of New York Buffalo

4.1%

Stephen F Austin State University

4.1%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

4.1%

Florida Atlantic University

4.1%

Ohio University -

3.6%
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Majors

Geology

84.1%

Environmental Science

2.9%

Geological Engineering

2.9%

Geography

1.8%

Business

1.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.0%

Elementary Education

0.7%

Chemistry

0.5%

Education

0.5%

Civil Engineering

0.5%

Management

0.4%

Biology

0.4%

Marine Sciences

0.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.3%

Finance

0.3%

Law

0.3%

Systems Science And Theory

0.3%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

0.3%

Mining Engineering

0.3%

Physical Sciences

0.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

56.7%

Masters

30.8%

Other

6.8%

Doctorate

3.3%

Certificate

2.0%

Associate

0.4%

Diploma

0.1%
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